The webcomic Moth City is set in a small Chinese island town that is manufacturing a deadly biological weapon for the Nationalist China army in the 1930s. But when the weapon gets loose, the town's yankee governor and a Nationalist major fight for the island's future while its people scramble to stay alive.

While the Kuomintang loyalists and the Communist Part of China wage war, numerous foreign agents have inserted themselves in the conflict — and one of those foreigners is Governor McGraw. An American with a firmly affixed cowboy hat, McGraw rules over Moth City and oversees its biological weapons facility. But just as he's about to make a deal for a dangerous new compound with the Nationalist Major Hong, a canister of the stuff gets loose. As it's unleashed upon the city, Moth City's secrets shake loose, including those belonging to McGraw's own daughter, Glitter.

Advertisement

Former Weta designer Tim Gibson created Moth City, and it's part of the Thrillbent digital comics network. And it truly is a digital comic. Gibson is one of a handful of artists who uses the "next" button to his advantage, making Moth City part comic, part animation. It also ensures that the comic's surprises are revealed gradually. You read panel by panel, word balloon by word balloon, instead of skipping to the end of the page. And given that Moth City is a horror noir, a little surprise goes a long way.

And while Glitter and McGraw go a long way to setting the comic's events in action, Moth City follows a range of characters and how they react to the island's sudden disaster. One of the comic's core themes is control and McGraw and Major Hong seek different ways to control the situation. And the people of Moth City affected by the weapon must decide whether to control themselves. The question is not only whether the city will survive — but whether it should survive in the end.

[Moth City]